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Archive for the ‘McAfee News’ Category

McAfee Point to Android in Quarterly Threat Report

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

It seems Android has yet to shrug off criticisms by software security companies in the industry. McAfee recently released their latest quarterly threat report and Android was highlighted yet again as the mobile platform that cybercriminals love to work on.
 
This is similar to a report that McAfee released back in November 2011, and the conclusions then are largely similar to this most recent set of findings. Android’s popularity with mobile users is naturally what makes it such a good platform for cybercriminals to work in. Many were critical of the report as ‘scaremongering’, attempting to frighten users into buying mobile security software, or stating the obvious that one of the most used mobile platforms will have security problems. However many others (industry experts and users alike) are taking the claims very seriously.
 
The report claims that there were around 1.5million more incidents of malware in the second quarter of the year than there was in the first. Thousands of malicious URLs and domains are being created everyday, say McAfee, and they have been adversely affecting consumers and businesses.
 
One group who will be particularly concerned are the businesses who use the Android platforms on their mobile phones; potentially sensitive information and business infrastructures could be open to all sorts of malicious intent.
 
McAfee highlighted one such attack in their report, in which cybercriminals send Trojans through SMS which then collect personal information. Dangers such as this mean that users will not only have to stay alert on their home computers and laptops, but on their phones as well.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

Electrical Power Grids New Targets for Cyber Attack

Friday, July 27th, 2012

A large portion of daily internet users are worried about their personal safety whilst on the internet. Personal information stored on computers, in web browsers and in other places on the internet means that many users are conscious of their computer’s safety. However McAfee have also revealed that much larger infrastructures are also prime targets for cyber attack, and smart electrical power grids are now seen as one area that is particularly under threat.
 
The global energy sector is growing and growing, and extortion by online criminals is fast becoming a way to threaten this industry. Extortion is becoming a common way to get money out of internet users in the home as well; people are threatened by cyber criminals who pretend to have information on illegal content stored on a person’s computer. This is then used to gain money from the user.
 
It seems that this trend of extortion is also extending to power companies. As energy companies look to make their systems smarter and more efficient, and this can unfortunately cause a number of security problems. Cyber criminals are not simply content with stealing information and money – or causing havoc – on normal day to day user’s computers.
 
McAfee believe that, like any home or business computer, the new updates in technology need to come with a built in protection system. With devices becoming more and more connected for easier automation of different tasks, one vulnerable system can become a major hazard for others. So just as you might protect your home computer from identity theft or other malicious malware, these new automated, highly sophisticated technology systems used in energy companies need to be protected.

McAfee worry that by using generic software rather than uniquely created codes, means that cyber criminals find it easier to gain control.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee Warns of Olympic Fraud

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Olympics2012 McAfee Warns of Olympic FraudWith the Olympics only a fortnight away, many security companies are looking closely at all of the possible dangers that can be associated with a number of different technologies that are being used to make the games more accessible, easy to engage with, and fun.
 
One of these technologies that security firm McAfee have been particularly worried about is the use of NFC payments. NFC stands of ‘near field communications’, and allows for things to be paid for without the use of a credit or debit card. The device is simply scanned and money taken directly from a assigned account.
 
NFC devices have become an essential part of the games in terms of technology, particularly for the athletes. London 2012 Olympics committee have announced that every competitor will receive a free Galaxy S3 smartphone for competing this summer. This wide use of NFC technology worries McAfee.
 
McAfee believe, through their own work and research, that there is the malware out there to attack this sort of technology. PINs can be cracked and a ‘fuzz’ attack launched, meaning that the mobile deivce’s OS is targeted as well as its NFC libraries. This corrupts the data and throws vulnerabilities to light, which can then be targeted by the attacker.
 
McAfee also warns of other malware and virus dangers that could affect these phones should someone with malicious intent get hold of one of the phones that will be handed over to athletes. Their warnings will concern the manufacturers, who have been wanting to promote NFC technology in a wider context. It is already used in some capacities, and the most common one is an Oyster card which utilizes contactless technology for the London Underground. This new use will, however, have to be successfully used without any of the attacks feared by McAfee to make people feel more safe with this sort of technology.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

Most Dangerous Football Team

Friday, July 13th, 2012

McAfee has issued a study which shows just how dangerous searching for your favourite football players and teams can be.

With Euro 2012 fever gripping many, it seems that those with malicious intent are taking advantage of the searches people make to guide them to dangerous websites.

McAfee used its SiteAdvisor system to look at which football players were the most risky to search; creating a ‘most dangerous football team’ in terms of web searches. The most dangerous football player to search for is one of the most popular: Cristiano Ronaldo.

By searching Ronaldo’s name, and particularly for any photos or videos of him, had a risk rating of 6.2%. This means that users could end up downloading malicious malware onto their laptops or computers and face a whole host of problems. Other players had less dangerous levels of risk rating; Steven Gerard had a rating of 4.5% and Daniele De Rossi had only a 1.8% risk rating. Some of the most famous English players such as Wayne Rooney – who are also famous worldwide – surprisingly did not feature.

The most dangerous real-life team to be searching on the internet for were France and Portugal, who both had a 7.1% risk rating. Germany and England were not far behind with 5.4% and 5.3% respectively. The McAfee report also showed that the wives and girlfriends of the players also had their own risk rating attached to searching for them. Again, Cristiano Ronaldo scored highly, with searches for his partners having a risk rating of 7%.

Although the McAfee report is a little lighter and more humorous than their other reports on malware issues, it does highlight a particular problem. Many users don’t realise just how dangerous searching for their favourite sports stars or celebrities are, particularly when searching for photos and videos that they want to download. McAfee make the very true point that although many links are legitimate, those who create malware will use the popularity of the person as a way to ensure a lot of people end up inadvertently taking on their malicious codes.

With a whole summer of sport ahead, security software companies such as McAfee will be urging internet users to be cautious when searching for their favourite sports stars and national teams.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee Warn of Huge Cyber Fraud in Process

Friday, June 29th, 2012

McAfee has written a cyber fraud report with the banking security firm Guardian Analytics, claiming that a number of evolved versions of the dangerous Zeus and SpyEye malware has been used to target high-balance bank accounts.

McAfee discovered the attack was heavily automated, which no manual (human) was needed to control it. This meant that not only was the attack fast and effective, it was becoming increasingly dangerous. Many security firms are now warning of the dangers of automated attacks, used by cyber criminals who want to make even more money.

The fact that this particular tack has been targeting bank high-earning individuals as well as well off companies has been particularly worrying. The ‘big banks’ are not the only targets, however; even some smaller regional banks that are usually not considered as targets for these fraudsters are being attacked. Some frauds have gone into the hundreds of thousands, and the use of more developed Zeus and SpyEye malware is worrying security firms who are looking at how to stop these attacks in the future.

This particular cyber fraud appears to be focused on Europe, although the net is expanding wider so that cyber criminals can make more money (for example, the US and Colombia). This highly sophisticated money-making scheme will only grow, the report issued by McAfee and Guardian Analytics warns.

Despite the doom and gloom of this wide reaching fraud, security firms like McAfee remain optimistic that companies like themselves can combat such an attack. The tools that they need exist, and they are working on the problem now.  

However, as with all frauds and online attacks, McAfee and other security companies warn users that a lot of the responsibility lies with the user. Although complex and highly sophisticated frauds are sometimes impossible to protect oneself from, it is believed that with the right vigilance and attention paid, consumers and business users can protect themselves against these sorts of attacks. Or, if they are targeted successfully, they can get help to quickly solve the problem.  

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee Reveals Habits of Teens Online

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

A recent McAfee survey has shown how teenagers who use the internet hide their online behaviour from their parents.

In fact the survey shows that 70% of teenagers did this, and 22.8% of parents admitted they were overwhelmed by the technology used by their children.

The Teen Internet Behavior Study of 2012 was conducted in the US but it’s results are likely to be understood and reflected across the world. It has long been known that teenagers are quicker to adapt to the sorts of technology found in the home such as a computer or laptop. However, their exact behaviours online still need to be keenly looked at.  

This is because the behaviours of these teenagers will one day affect the business models and services of antivirus companies such as McAfee. When these teenagers become adults and parents the behaviours that they have now will affect how they protect their future computers. Security software companies may have to adapt to different behaviours and uses of the computer, which will undoubtedly be different – if only a little – from this generation of adults.  

The study found teenagers hide what they do online with tactics such as clearing their browser history (53%), hiding or deleting the IMs they receive (34%) or using a computer that parents don’t check (23%).  

The study will be closely scrutinised by antivirus companies to glean information for the future, but it may also be the cause of some concern. Parents who do not have the ability to understand and adapt to these tactics will not be able to stop their children undertaking more dangerous things online.

Home and personal computers or laptops could be put in danger from malware and, with such a large percentage of parents feeling overwhelmed by the technology, it is unlikely that the appropriate software will be installed for proper protection.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee and 2e2 Partner

Friday, June 15th, 2012

McAfee has confirmed that it will partner up with 2e2 to provide the McAfee Enterprise Mobility Manager (EMM) through a cloud-based application to service providers and large enterprises.
 
The rise in mobile devices being used in the business sector reflects a similar rise in overall mobile users. With this increase in use, smartphones are becoming a target for antivirus and other malware threats. Day to day consumers use their mobile phones for everything from internet banking to social networking, and all of these uses have been targeted by viruses and malware in the past.
 
The use of devices such as iPhones, Android and tablets in the business sector means many enterprises are now not just looking to protect the laptops and computers, linked to their work, but the mobile devices as well. McAfee’s partnership with 2e2 therefore will come as a relief to many consumers who want to keep their businesses safe from the potential damage of viruses and malware. Corporate networks are likely to become an increasingly attractive target for malware, so partnerships such as these ensure that they have the choice for full coverage and protection.
 
By offering the software through a cloud application, McAfee and 2e2 are also keeping the highest amount of flexibility for its customers. The software can be used for large enterprises to small start up companies, giving everyone an opportunity to make their increasing network safe from different types of threats. Seo Services
 
Just as in the day to day consumer environment, businesses big and small are urged by online security firms not to take risks with their security online. Mobile devices might seem untouchable for viruses, but the cases of details of malware on mobile phones have been rising. Safe habits on both mobile devices and computers can help, but security is always the safest option particularly when it comes to a corporate network that holds such vital information for a business.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

India Tops Ranking of PC Protection

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A recent McAfee study has shown that although India has a lower level of penetration of computers, it is ahead of countries such as US and Japan in terms of PC protection.

The McAfee study showed that despite the vast amount of computers that are used in Japan, US and other countries such as Singapore they have very high numbers of unprotected PCs. Spain topped the list with 16.3% of PCs having no installed or running antivirus software, with Japan and China just behind with 13.2% and 12.9% respectively.

Although India was not at the top of the list of nations with the lowest number of unprotected PCs, it did come 8th (with 10.9% of unprotected computers) it shows worryingly that huge number of regular PC users in the countries with the most computers are not protected. Of India’s 60 million PCs, 82.67% were covered by basic security protection. The global average was 83%, with Finland ranking number one with 90.3% of PCs having basic security software in place. Nearly a fifth of US computers were discovered to be unprotected.

The reasons why countries such as the US, Spain and Japan are diverse, but McAfee believe they have pinpointed a few key beliefs amongst users that explain the lack of protection. Many users use free trials of software to try to get around paying for antivirus protection, and a high number of these – McAfee believe – don’t know that they become unprotected once the trial is finished.

Another reason for having no antivirus protection was people switching off the software they do have downloaded so that they can do things like play games. Others believed that if they were sensible online that they would not be open to the dangers of the internet.

These country ranking reports are never conclusive, but they are a comprehensive look at different regions’ attitudes to computer safety. The fact that countries with such a high usage of PCs and the internet – like the US and Japan – have some of the lowest antivirus protection will worry many security companies. As McAfee and many other companies have highlighted in the past, it is not just a personal danger, being unprotected also promotes illegal activity across the internet and compromises the safety of everyone on the web.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee Scopes Out Pinterest

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Pinterest is one of the biggest growing new social-networking sites, allowing users to ‘pin’ to virtual pin boards anything of their interest, from wedding invitation ideas to favourite books. McAfee has assessed the safety of this new social network for users and concluded that there are a number of worrying security problems with money-making scams.  

McAfee are known for their antivirus software, but that is not the only sort of protection they provide. They are also concerned with the high numbers of scammers and spammers that currently stalk the web, particularly social media sites. Money-making scams are often created by software tool kits, which create quite effective scams in just a few minutes. These easy-to-use kits mean that programmers don’t have to have any programming skills to scam people.  

The most common scams include money for the scammers for referring users to buying sites. Others include targeting mobile users, by showing them pornographic images that if they click begin phone calls that are extremely costly. There are other scams less dangerous to the user, but they still fill Pinterest with bogus accounts and mass commenting, which all plays into scammers' hands.  

McAfee’s assessment of Pinterest is important, as these new social networking sites often grow extremely big extremely fast – almost overnight – and stringent security controls are often slow to develop as the audience numbers do.  

Pinterest reacted to McAfee’s report by saying they are doing their utmost to develop their security systems and the curbing of scammers and spammers are a priority to them. McAfee suggests that users of Pinterest be careful about requests to pin or repin content, and to try to view it before they do so.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

McAfee Unveil New Comprehensive Tech Support

Monday, May 14th, 2012

McAfee have announced that they want to improve upon their existing tech support by releasing a new suite of McAfee technical support services for their UK consumers, called McAfee TechMaster™ services.

McAfee have recognized that in this day and age many family’s digital lives are varied and very different to a few years ago. There are laptops of different makes, smartphones, tablets and cameras now in almost every home, many all at the same time. One of their new tech support solutions is one that covers a household for all of their devices.

When something does go wrong with a PC, laptop or other device, many consumers feel reticent in taking it in to be fixed. This is because it can be time consuming to pack up a computer or laptop, ensure things are backed up, and spend a period of time without a device. With his in mind, McAfee’s new TechMaster services are delivered remotely via phone, so that the tech support can be given remotely and not require people to take their devices to a retail outlet.

McAfee’s new suite of technical support includes a whole range of support services, for a wide variety of needs. These range from the comprehensive (for example covering all of a family’s devices for a year) to ones that work incident by incident, depending on the nature of the problem. For example, there are packages for virus removal, or for troubleshooting. There is also help with setting up your new PC or Mac, including help with things such as monitors and keyboards.

McAfee believe that having a centralized technology support for all or one of your devices is something that is very important to consumers, and have used independent reports to support this idea. As households continue to buy new and different types of technology, the idea of having something to cover it all may certainly become a popular one.

Guest Article by Sophie Camp

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